Chesterton Tribune

 

 

County Commissioners asked to act on Brassie golf ball threat

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By LILY REX

Three Liberty Township residents spoke at the Porter County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday to ask that the Commissioners do something about stray golf balls from the Brassie Golf Club.

The residents said stray balls from the Brassie’s driving range so frequently miss or fly over the 40-foot protective net along Pearson Road that they don’t feel safe spending time in their front yards, and they’ve had multiple instances of property damage.

The Brassie is half in the Town of Chesterton, but the Club’s driving range is under the County’s purview since it’s south of 1100N in unincorporated Porter County. The residents have all lived along Pearson Road since before Brassie was built.

The Chesterton Tribune explored the problem and asked local officials to weigh in on whether or not the threat of stray golf balls poses a public safety hazard or nuisance in an Aug. 29 article. That article noted that Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, said he was open to addressing the issue and would bring it up at the Sept. 3 Commissioners meeting.

Biggs did not raise the issue before the residents brought it up during the meeting’s public comment portion, after which the Board doesn’t typically discuss further business.

The residents say former management at the Brassie answered their complaints and paid for damages, but they’re fed up with having the problem in the first place, and new management dodges their calls.

David Evans, who said 50 to 60 golf balls enter his yard per year, some of which caused damage in 2016 and 2017, said he feels his home should be a safe haven, but he doesn’t feel safe in his yard. “I call down there, and they say, ‘Well stay out of your front yard,’ and they hang up on me,” he added.

Evelyn Komenas, the resident who has had the most damage, suggested the net should extend at least 200 feet farther north and be taller.

All three residents say the stray drives constitute a public nuisance and safety hazard, and the County could do more. Komenas added she doesn’t want to get an attorney for a problem she didn’t cause. “I’m not asking for money. This should be an easy fix.”

Kim and David Evans suggested the driving range should be moved or at least should not operate while the issue is under review. “This has been going on way too long. They have not been a good neighbor to us. They are harassing us on our properties,” Kim Evans said.

Biggs reiterated that he doesn’t think the residents should have to put up with stray golf balls, but he was met with resistance when he tried to speak with a former Brassie manager about it. Biggs asked that County Attorney Scott McClure draft a letter to the Brassie to try to open dialogue and see what can be done.

McClure, for his part, said he’s never been to a golf course that didn’t have at least one hole that threatens a public road or neighboring property, and it’s tough to tell whether that rises to the level of public nuisance. “At the end of the day, this isn’t unique to just this one area. I’m not saying that it’s not upsetting to have golf balls come into your yard or to have the potential for one of them to hit you.”

McClure said the law is “crystal clear” on who is responsible for paying for damages (individual golfers), but that the County could start a discussion with Brassie about improving the protective net. Making the net taller would require a variance from the County Board of Zoning Appeals due to its height.

Announcements

The Commissioners announced major repaving projects that will include lane restrictions on N. Calumet Road and Meridian Road in September. Traffic will be down to one lane during each project and residents will have access. “The projects will be staggered to ease congestion,” according to a release. Drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes during lane restrictions.

Milling, repaving, and restriping on N. Calumet Road from Wesley Road to U.S. 6 will begin Monday. Sept. 9 and continue through Thursday, Sept. 19, weather permitting.

Milling, repaving, and restriping on Meridian Road from C.R. 600N to U.S. 6 will begin Wednesday, Sept. 18 and continue through Wednesday, Sept. 25, weather permitting.

The Commissioners also announced their meeting dates have been rescheduled through the end of the year. The new meeting dates are Oct. 8, Nov. 5, Dec. 3, and Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. in suite 205 of the Porter County Administration Building.

Other Approvals

The Commissioners approved polling locations for the 2019 municipal election. Elections Director Sundae Schoon and Assistant Director Becky Rauch reported some precincts were consolidated for the upcoming election, with about 1,700 people affected. Everyone who is voting at a new location for this election will be notified by mail.

The Board also approved renewing a contract with Dossett Consulting, who has prepared the County’s cost allocation plan to identify the costs incurred by the Prosecutor’s Child Support Division for several years. Knowing the costs of the program, besides salaries and materials, is essential for obtaining federal reimbursement funds for the program, according to County Auditor Vicki Urbanik. Urbanik said Porter County was reimbursed approximately $197,000 for Child Support last year, and the reimbursement jumped to approximately $222,000 this year.

The Board approved an agreement for Steele Benefits to provide software that will make open enrollment more efficient and provide County employees with a one-stop online portal where they can see their insurance plan details. Urbanik said the Auditor’s office will split the $7,500 cost with Human Resources.

The Board approved the Highway Department to enter a $20,000 lease purchase agreement with Enterprise for five new Ford F-250 trucks equipped with snowplows. Jim Polarek reported the trucks will have plows so the three department foreman, Highway Superintendent Rich Sexton, and himself can help during snow events instead of just going out to survey.

The Board also approved an agreement with United Consulting for design services for bridge 149, Waverly Road over the Little Calumet River, in Porter. County Planner Bob Thompson reported bridge 149 is scheduled for federally-funded construction in 2024.

 

Posted 9/4/2019

 
 
 
 

 

 

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